A nice spring afternoon I walked to Múzeumkert to meet Robi Benyhe there. The guy who has the music in his life as the most important part of him. Having his own band (Magidom), playing several musical instruments and being connected to music from an early stage of his life made his relationship with music really strong. I asked him about how it all started and also about his future expectations.
Eszter: Magidom. Strange word, strange name… What does it say about you, how can it be connected to the band?
Robi: I decide before each end every interview that I will learn the exact definition of „magidom”. Do you know?
E: Something in physics?
R: Yes, it is an expression that is used when measuring tension. Basically, there were three things that we payed attention to when chosing the name of the band. First, we wanted to have a Hungarian name, then something that is not usual, so that if someone looks it up on Google, he can surely find us. The third thing is, it may seem to be spoken into it, but the name shows the tension that appears both in the band, and in music.
E: Magidom is a band of family members. How does it influence your work?
R: This is a double-edged sword. The negative side is that we can easily become lazy. As the ¾ of the band lives ridiculously close to each other, it sometimes happens that for the rehearsals the members just answer “we will be there”, but everybody is going to be late. On the other hand, the family is the force that holds us together. There is no real quarell, there is a we-love-each-other-guys feeling.
E: You have already published an EP, and now you are working on an album, if I am right.
R: This week we are going to finish working on a mini-album of three English songs. It is going to be basically acoustic material, and for one of the songs (Obscurity) we created a self-made video clip as well. During the summer we are going to work on our first great album. It is going to be complex, with folk, rock and alternative music. There is going to be a song about writing songs, that is a bit ironical, and another one that is a bit grey and sad, as sometimes everybody feels that the whole world seems to be against you. But there will be happy songs as well, even if some of them will be too close to trash, but these songs say that to have great thoughts worth it. I can talk all day long about the new songs…
E: As it can be seen from your answer, your music contains quite a few different styles. How are such different songs created?
R: It is a quite complicated process, there is no direct method for writing our songs. I have a close friend, a bit abstract, but really nice guy from highschool, and sometimes he sends me some ideas for lyrics. I also have my own, maybe more spontaneous ideas. So some of our songs are the combination of these two worlds. But there are a few exceptions, for example a poem of Radnóti (Eső esik fölszárad…) When the basics are ready then together with the other members of the band we prettify it. For some time, there is no fix music or lyrics, as these two depend on and influence each other.
E: You said that there is no direct method to create songs. What makes you then to write lyrics? What inspires you the most?
R: I can tell a few things. First, there is this tension I already mentioned. It can come from outside or inside, but it helps a lot. It rarely happens that I sit down and write a song, but sometimes it is good to have our own deadlines, that motivates us to be ready with our songs. Sometimes I do not write for a while, but then I have lots of things to write about. What inspires me? It is absolutely spontaneous. I walk around with open eyes. Maybe I just sit on the metro, and even if it cannot be seen by others, I am thinking of a new song. It happens most of the time, that I see something and I have thoughts of lyrics or music, and I write it down or record it immediately.
E: If you had to write a song about yourself, in what style would you create it?
R: Up to a point, I am there in our each and every song. I am the bit morbid abstraction in “Furcsa”, the “I am free and happy, running on the fields” in “Minden újra él”, and of course I have a harder, rocker part as well.
E: Lets go back a bit, to how it all began. How did your relationship with music start?
R: During primary school I studied in a music class. From first grade on, my parents wanted me to do sports and play a musical instrument, just to have a basic knowledge of everything. I started to play the cello. In the family most people played the piano, but I rather seemed to be a cello person. I did it, without too much practicing. Like when you do something, and you do not know how good it is. Then as most teenagers start to play the quitar I started to play it too. I have fallen in love with it. I was not motivated to learn songs of different bands, but I loved to play my own songs from the very beginning.
E: Is music a hobby for you, or have you ever thought to earn your living from it?
R: It is my hobby, but it is also vital. Sometimes I just go to the basement, turn the volume on and play. And then, I have not broken any windows, not hurt anyone, but I have relaxed and calmed down. I want music to come with me through my whole life. It will. But to live from it… that seems to be almost impossible. While I am in university I try to ground the way for Magidom to be a very good band.
E: You seem to be on the right way. You have an EP published, you are working on new albums, and the band also had quite a few really good concerts. By the way, what is it like to be on the stage?
R: It makes me feel relaxed and happy. It is a very good feeling to be able to express myself on the stage, and that I can tell whatever I want. I never feel to be nervous but always excited.
E:What is your greatest music experience?
R: I rarely go to concerts, but there were two very different ones that had great influence on me. A Coldplay concert in Prague, and a small concert in Amsterdem of John Butler Trio. To answer the question as a musician: the best experience of our concerts is when I feel that we had done something great and there is positive feedback from the audience. But I see that the greatest things in the life of Magidom are just coming.
E: How do you see yourself in 10 years time?
R: I see myself as a happy person. With some kind of a family. Okay, with a family. In the life of the band… 10 years is a long time. It is hard to tell. I would like to be still enthusiastic, and to be there in the musical life.
E: Last but not least, do you plan your carrier in Hungary or abroad?
R: I am realistic. We have to improve a lot, but this process works only step by step. The bands here are really very good, not considering those that are present in mainstream media. I think it would be already a big achievement to be succesfull in Hungary. Even if we have some English stuff, Magidom basically works in Hungarian. I really hope that poeple will like what we are doing. It would be the cherry on the top to get positive feedback from abroad.
Interviewee: Róbert Benyhe
Interviewer: Eszter Filep
More information: http://magidom.bandcamp.com
By: Eszter Filep